Published March 28, 2014
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Eagles have released wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
The Eagles made the decision on Friday and announced the move in a simple statement.
"After careful consideration during this offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles have decided to part ways with DeSean Jackson," the statement read. "The team informed him of his release today."
Speculation had been rampant concerning Jackson's future with the team, even after he came off his best season in 2013 with career highs of 82 receptions and 1,332 yards. He also tied a career best with nine touchdown catches.
Jackson spent his entire six-year NFL career with the Eagles, but reports earlier this week indicated the club was trying to trade the 27-year-old veteran and would indeed release him if a deal could not develop.
The move comes on the same day of a report on NJ.com that said Jackson's off- field behavior is behind the decision. The story said a bad attitude, an inconsistent work ethic, missed meetings and a lack of chemistry with coach Chip Kelly were part of the reason the Eagles released Jackson.
NJ.com also reported that Jackson has association with Los Angeles street gang members who have been connected to a pair of homicides since 2010.
Jackson denied any such involvement with gang members when he released a statement following the decision by the Eagles on Friday afternoon.
"First I would like to thank the Eagles organization, the Eagles fans and the city of Philadelphia for my time in Philly," Jackson's statement read. "I would also like to thank coach Andy Reid for bringing me in.
"Secondly, I would like to address the misleading and unfounded reports that my release has anything to do with any affiliation that has been speculated surrounding the company I keep off of the field. I would like to make it very clear that I am not and never have been part of any gang.
"I am not a gang member and to speculate and assume that I am involved in such activity off the field is reckless and irresponsible. I work very hard on and off the field and I am a good person with good values. I am proud of the accomplishments that I have made both on and off the field. I have worked tirelessly to give back to my community and have a positive impact on those in need. It is unfortunate that I now have to defend myself and my intentions. These reports are irresponsible and just not true. I look forward to working hard for my new team. God Bless."
The NJ.com story said police never considered Jackson a suspect in any crimes and had no hard evidence that he was a gang member.
Kelly met with Jackson earlier this week and a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday said the receiver called teammates to inform them that he was staying with the team.
On Wednesday, at the NFL owners' meetings in Orlando, Kelly would not tip his hand.
"I like DeSean, but we're always going to do what's best for the organization," said Kelly with rumors spreading that the player did not have a good relationship with the first-year coach in 2013.
Kelly went on to say on Wednesday that he had "no issue" with Jackson and that he got along with the Eagles' top receiver last season, but he would not commit to Jackson being on Philadelphia's roster by the start of organized team activities on April 21.
Now, he won't be and will be free to sign with any other team.
Jackson has caught 356 passes for 6,117 yards with 32 touchdowns in his NFL career. He has also been a dynamic punt returner and is a three-time Pro Bowl selection.